"But war, in a good cause, is not the greatest evil which a nation can suffer. War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice – a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice – is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other."

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Someone beam Scotty up and, while we're at it, into the middle of a black hole

Well, today started kinda crappy since I didn't get much sleep and spent the morning fighting with our utterly useless piece-of-trash government computer network which may stand as the worst example of waste, fraud and abuse perpetrated by a contracted civilian agency. It is very user-unfriendly and its administrative powers are so centralized that there's virtually nothing I can do on my end to help a user except tell him to call the same help desk I call when something breaks for me. Normally, in the Marine Corps, we push decision-making down to the lowest possible level except, it seems, when it comes to our networking needs. If there's one thing I actually miss about Iraq, it was the almost unlimited freedom I had to manage our squadron's computer network and provide instant support without spending an hour on the phone with a help desk peon.

Anyway, I'm in a better mood now since I just awarded my first service decoration to the first Marine whom I've been in charge of for the last six months. I had one hell of a motivator assigned to support our computer assets in Iraq and he made a huge impact on our squadron's operations while over there. He received a well-deserved Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal for his efforts and will be sorely missed when he returns to his parent unit. Also, the Lost season finale is on tonight. Ooh-rah.

Well, as much as the conclusion I've come to that politics sullies everything it touches has turned me off of so much as thinking about presidential races or legislative battles, the discovery last weekend that I have a larger readership than I'd imagined (it may be up to double digits!) compels me to continue writing about it. And I'm not exaggerating about my conclusion. Between watching the Democrats rend each other prior to their convention and seeing the ever-diminishing executive diminish ever further, I've decided that right now, at least in the political sphere, we're in an age devoid of what I'd consider "great men". There is no Lincoln, Washington, Jefferson, Reagan or Roosevelt on the horizon. Instead, we have men and women who play the basest politics of sex and race running for this nation's highest office. We have a leader in that office who, though I believe he made many tough and courageous decisions in the early part of his presidency, has so utterly spent his political capital in wasteful ways that he's become a deflated caricature of himself, and is limping through his last days trying not to damage the prospects of his party's future presidential nominee. And then there are the lower-level politicians, bureaucrats, and functionaries whose own petty character is only amplified by their experience in the halls of power. Case in point is Scott McClellan, who has a new tell-all book which, according to him, is not so much a version of the truth as of (and I quote him directly, from the preface) "his truth". I don't have the time or space to delve into his claims or those of his critics, who argue - apparently with some merit - that he didn't have nearly the access he describes; I think Kathleen Parker's says it best. If he's telling the truth about lying then, then he's a contemptible little man who had convictions but apparently didn't act on them until his book advance. And if he lied about things back then, why should we trust what he has to say now, especially when it's "his" and not "the" truth?


Finally: according to Michelle Malkin, Rachel Ray and Dunkin Donuts are terrorist sympathizers. Michelle: maybe you should simmer down and switch to decaf.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Malkin strikes me as having too much knowledge for her own good. Furthermore, she's an absolute bi-otch about it too: "for the clueless?!" I'm sorry, Michelle, but they don't exactly sell kaffiyehs at Stein Mart...